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Research Continuity FAQs

Spelman College Research Continuity FAQs 

Developed by the Office of Research, Innovation, and Collaboration (ORIC) 


August 20, 2020

Dear Spelman Community: Welcome to the first week of classes of the Fall 2020 semester! Scholarly activities, research, and creative pursuits are an integral part of the robust intellectual culture at Spelman. COVID-19 has impacted and altered our traditional ways of operating in our teaching, scholarship, and support services for students.

Though all Fall 2020 courses will be online and Spelman College Faculty and Staff (except essential personnel) are expected to continue to telework to maintain the “lowest-density population on campus”, we in the Office of Research, Innovation, and Collaboration (ORIC) are available to support you virtually.

Below are responses to questions you may have as you begin this academic year regarding your scholarly goals and initiatives. If you have any questions that are not included on this list, please email Dr. Tasha R. Inniss, Associate Provost for Research, at Please send general questions or suggestions to All the best on a successful semester!



General Guidance


 All students, faculty, and staff are required to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon return to campus. The test must be taken no more than 10 days prior to the visit to campus.  Other requirements are mandatory wearing of masks/face coverings maintenance of physical distancing and hand hygiene while on campus. Please refer to the Spelman College: A Plan for the 2020-2021 Academic Year plan for more information.
 Yes, research supervisors are required to submit the ‘Resumption of On-Campus Research & Creative Pursuits form to access research space to resume scholarly activities. This form requires a ‘return to research’ plan. Responses submitted in the request form must follow guidelines outlined in ‘Research Ramp-Up Guidance’.   For more information about safety protocols and research ramp-up guidance, contact Merina Dhakal, Environmental Health and Safety Compliance Manager, at
 Yes. You are able to access campus with documentation of negative COVID-19 test. While on campus, you will have to move all your needed files to OneDrive. You will then be able to access these documents remotely on your laptop or tablet. Please contact Spelman Technology Services (STS) for assistance and guidance on using OneDrive (preferred method for remote access to documents. You can also request Virtual Private Network (VPN) access.


Research in Laboratories


 Faculty researchers have been directed to ramp down and cease experiments in their labs. All on-campus lab work is restricted until further notice.
 Yes, researchers must bring their current experiments to a safe close and shut down their labs. All on-campus lab work is restricted until further notice.
 NO. All equipment and physical materials should remain within the laboratory premises. Only laptops, laboratory notebooks, data, and storage devices are allowed to be taken home for conducting research remotely. 
 Yes, the cryotank will be monitored and maintained by the essential personnel for the Science Center.  
 Unless there is a critical need, please do not order any additional supplies at this time, particularly perishables. Outstanding orders will be received by essential personnel for Science Infrastructure and stored in a central location. You will receive an email when shipments are received. Please contact Jackie James, Director of Administrative Services, about urgent orders.
 Merina Dhakal, Environmental Health & Safety Compliance Manager, worked with the laboratory coordinators to do the final walkthroughs of the laboratories before shutdown. Labs were secured using the “Laboratory Emergency Shutdown Checklist”.


Undergraduate Research


 Yes, if the students are conducting the research remotely. Note: Students cannot meet in person with you nor with each other to work on research projects. 

Consider having students work or engage in the following:

  • Create annotated bibliographies
  • Share creative works via social media related to music, theater, and dance (YouTube, Facebook Live, Zoom, or WhatsApp)  
  • Conduct literature searches using (ex. PubMed, Google Scholar)  
  • Software training and simulations such as *, SPSS,* Tableau, and Python, *RStudio) *Free student download/access 
  • Capstone projects and/or lab assignments centered around students virtually engaging with other researchers across the globe
  • Virtual journal clubs (Flipped Journal Club, Creating Virtual Club)
 STS recommends sharing research-related data (with Spelman students only) via OneDrive with more stringent security settings including a) turning off download capability and b) making the link available only to specific people. These settings are available from the “Share” menu in OneDrive. Please contact STS for assistance and guidance using OneDrive.
 A new collaborative platform was designed to help facilitate the collaboration between students and faculty mentors.  Please visit to start exploring today.
 The College has not yet made a determination about summer programs. Please monitor communications that are sent by the Office of the President or the Office of the Provost. 
 Yes.  In addition to email communication about various events please frequently visit ORIC’s Undergraduate Research and Training Programs Unit (URTP) webpage for updates.


Human Subjects Research


 In light of the public health concerns regarding COVID-19 transmission, any data collection involving direct contact is suspended until further notice. Suspended activities include all in-person interviews, focus groups, surveys and studies employing observation methods. Virtual data collection may be allowed if approved by Spelman’s IRB Committee.
 Students should discuss their situation with you. As the principal investigator of your student projects, you can request permission to make any changes to the IRB-approved project by submitting a completed Protocol Modification Request form to
 Any changes to your study must be requested by submitting a Protocol Modification Request to If your data collection involves direct contact, you must suspend that activity until further notice; you do not need to request permission prior to halting your study in these instances.
 Projects that do not require direct contact are permitted to continue data collection. Examples of remote or virtual data collection methods include online surveys, phone calls, and virtual meetings.
 Should you wish to revise your proposal to include virtual or remote data collection that does not require face-to-face contact, please submit a Protocol Modification Request to

Note: Procedures are subject to be updated based on the College's return-to-learning plan and COVID-19 health data. Please continue to check Spelman's Institutional Review Board website for the most up to date information."  


Advice for Current Awardees


 Yes. There are no restrictions on expending grant funds. See “Procurement Guidance for Awardees” below for FAQ about checking budget expenditures.
If your grant-funded project will be impacted and have to be delayed because of measures being taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health of the Spelman community, document those deliverables that will be delayed, create a modified timeline, and determine if a “no-cost extension” will be required. Each federal agency differs in this process. Please work with Margaret Farrow (, ORIC’s Director of Research Development & Sponsored Programs, on no-cost extension requests.
 Yes, the Research Development & Sponsored Programs Unit will continue to support faculty and staff with budget development, proposal routing & approval, and submission using agency electronic platforms. Contact Margaret Farrow at for assistance.
 Please contact Lakesha Stevenson (, ORIC's Internal Evaluation & Program Monitoring Manager, for assistance with the proposal evaluation requirements. You also have the option of completing an online request form, Request Program Evaluation Services.
 Please contact Lakesha Stevenson  at for assistance with data collection for the evaluation and to facilitate communication with the External Evaluator (if applicable).


Procurement Guidance for Awardees


If you have questions about guidance below, please email Alisa Butler, ORIC’s Operations Manager, at

  1. Sign in on your “MySpelman” account with your OneSpelman credentials.Search for the icon located on the left side.
  2.  Follow instructions in Spel-Shop guide.  (Refer to Spel-Shop Guide)
 Yes.  Your appointed administrative profesisonal should ensure that they have been synced in Spel-Shop.  If they are not, an email should be sent to Ron Borgelin at and Yolande Stringfellow at requesting that selected personnel be assigned to your budget. For instructions on how to “Assign” a cart to a particular person, Refer to Spel-Shop Guide
All budget transfers are still processed via the Lotus Notes Dashboard. Once completed print a copy of your budget transfer document and save it to desired file on your desktop. (Note: If there is no printer, set up to print as Adobe Pdf)
 All invoices will need to be requested through Spel-Shop once verification of items have been received.  Please see attached instructions. (Refer to Spel-Shop Guide)

The Cashier’s Office (404-270-5159) is open Tuesday and Thursday, 10am-3pm. Contact Rashaan Evans at for confirmation or update of office hours.

For vendors, we strongly recommend that you request that they complete a Vendor ACH Authorization Form to prevent any delays of payment.

If you have additional questions, please send them to